Canary Islands-anyone been there?

Old Sep 10th, 2011, 03:25 PM
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Canary Islands-anyone been there?

I have posted these questions in the Africa forum but am wondering if more people have been to the Canaries as part of their European trip?
I have finally decided to plan a family vacation to the Canary Islands during the Christmas holiday this year (2011). I have been trying to find a place that would have something for each member of our family and I think that the Canaries will fit the bill.

Background-my husband and I live in the states. Our two kids (ages 26 and 29) live in the UK so we are planning on meeting up with them in London for a few days and then all being on the same flight to the Canaries. I would like to book our flights to the Canaries as soon as possible as the fares are still decent but don't know which islands we should concentrate on?

We love history;beachcombing;natural history/parks and diving into new cultures/food.I don't think that we would be happy at a beach resort just sitting in the sun ? I am asking if anyone has been to the Canary Islands for a vacation/holiday and have an opinion on what islands or cities you would recommend including in our itinerary? I would like to fly into one city and ferry to another island and then fly out of there.Any tips and info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks-
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Old Sep 10th, 2011, 08:34 PM
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We have several close friends from the Canaries. It's a major destination for a lot of Spaniards, especially during the Christmas holidays and Carnival. Most head for Tenerife, which is well worth a visit. Fuerteventura, I would say, is a bit more adventurous is spirit. You may want to start your search by checking out Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Tourist Office of Spain has a lot of information (free) on the Canaries.
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Old Sep 10th, 2011, 08:39 PM
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Since you're from Chicago, you have a local office ([email protected]). Give them a call and have them send you the information.

845 N Michigan Ave
(312) 642-1992
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Old Sep 10th, 2011, 09:01 PM
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dutyfree: Canary Islands thread are located on the Africa forum . . .

Oh - I see you already posted over there . . .
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 01:52 AM
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I go to La Palma regularly. It is green and beautiful and small. Not many beaches it's true, and those there are are black volcanic beaches, but there is plenty of good walking, history and things to do. We now go just to relax and chill out but even now we find new things to see and do.
If you decide to go there then I suggest you stay on the west side of the island, and in winter make sure you are not too high up - La Palma is a very steep island being basically a big volcano, and in winter the higher altitude houses can be in the clouds all day.
They even get snow on the highest points, whilst it can be 20C on the beach.

I wonder why the Canaries are on the Africa forum? yes they are off Africa but very definitely are Spanish/European!
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 03:08 AM
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All of the Canary Islands are very much beach holiday orientated and apart from visiting areas of current volcanic activity (Timanfaya on Lanzarote or Teide on Tenerife) there isn't a great deal to do on the old buildings and culture side of things.

We were on Fuerteventura earlier this summer, see:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rteventura.cfm

I replied to a similar request last year:

The Canaries will be appreciably warmer than most of mainland Spain in Jan/Feb time.The islands are volcanic and the scenery is spectacular because of that. I'd avoid Tenerife unless you're into drinking and drugs though. The south side of the island, where the weather is warmer is much like that. masca is on the NW tip of the island, where the weather can be quite uncertain, although it is a picturesque place.

Lanzarote is very volcanic, with lots of activity still going on in the Timanfaya area. Carmen and Teguise are the touristy bits.

Fuertenventura is not spectacularly scenic, but should be quite good weather wise. Gran Canary is a nice island, but don't stay in the Playa del Ingles area, which is party central.

The other islands are, largest to smallest: La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa, Alegranza and Montaña Clara. They are quite small and quite quiet. It all depends on what you're looking for?

The easiest passage by sea between two islands is Lanzarote to Fuertentura and you can fly to and from the UK easily from either place.
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 03:34 AM
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The smaller islands barely have beaches so are definitely not aimed at beach holidays.

There are plenty of old historical buildings on them and some fascinating places. Lots of good walking, some prehistoric remains, active volcanos on La Palma, plus the amazing Caldera, The Los Tilos Laurel forest, Salt pans, wild and rugged Garafia, the observatories (which aren't open to the public though you can get pretty close to them), the wonderful La Glorieta square in Las Manchas. They still have a small silk industry on La Palma, as well as a small cigar industry. WOnderful wines, but lots and lots of banana plantations too, which get a bit boring after a while it's true.
You can go dolphin and whale watching too.

Have a look at http://www.islalapalma.com for a start.

La Gomera and El Hierro are harder to get to but just a rewarding.

There are inter island ferries but also inter island flights which may be better for you.
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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The Canaries are Florida with mountains rather than swamps -- at least in a touristic frame of reference. Once winter comes to northern Europe, the Germans and British load onto the charter jets to idle for a week or two at the all-inclusive resorts. Some islands do have long beaches, swarming with sunbathers. Rugged hills push towards the seas on the bigger islands, with steep roads spider-webbed along the slopes. The various islands offer some intense agriculture, a long if not earth-shaking history, and a name that refers to dogs rather than birds. I like islands and I liked the Canaries but they certainly are not for urban tourists who want daily doses of sophisticated museums and high culture.
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 04:23 PM
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Wow thanks everyone for your tips and info!!!!

Southam-its just been very difficult trying to find a place for our vacation this year.We started trying to go away at Christmas two years ago(Egypt and Jordan) when I lost my parents and then last year(Morocco) when I lost a beloved aunt(I am an only child).Our family so enjoyed Christmas without all of the Christmas overkill,sales,etc. that we have decided that it would be nice to go away until everyone's situations change.We don't need high culture for our trip but enjoy it if we are visiting somewhere.
We just picked the Canaries as the flight length and the flights seem to be doable from the UK for us.
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 04:44 PM
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Madeira is also supposed to be very nice.
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 05:56 PM
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I've been to both Gran Canaria and Tenerife in winter. Both are warm and sunny, and as someone above said, a regular haunt for sun-starved northern Europeans. It's the only place I've been where there were no Americans, and the restaurants have the menus translated into Finnish and Swedish.
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